German president urges European-African cooperation on refugee crisis

Africa and Europe must work together to tackle terrorism and the causes of refugee flows, said German President Joachim Gauck Wednesday, speaking before the Economic Community of West African States in Nigeria.

"Fleeing and displacement have become a challenge that quite directly links both our continents," Gauck said during his speech in Abuja.

Germany wants to "remain an open country" for refugees, the president said. "But we also recognize that our reception capacity is limited. We cannot take in all who want to come to us."

Migrant flow has been a hot topic in European politics, with more than 1 million asylum seekers and migrants reaching Europe in 2015, many of them fleeing the ongoing conflict in Syria.

"Developing countries, emerging countries and industrialized countries can only together solve the many challenges that do not know national frontiers," he said, referring to climate change, the struggle for peace and the preservation of biodiversity.

On Tuesday, Gauck had met with Nobel-winning novelist Wole Soyinka and attended a meeting of German and Nigerian entrepreneurs in Lagos.

He urged Nigeria to dismantle trade barriers and to increase legal protection and transparency for investors in the country, where about 100 German companies are present.

"The interest of the German economy is there," Gauck said.

The German president is on a five-day visit to Nigeria until Friday, when he will leave for Mali for the last, one-day leg of his African tour.

Last update: Wed, 10/02/2016 - 12:23
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